Days 3-4: Lalomanu Beach & Namua Island
The next two days will be spent relaxing in Upolu’s southeast coast in either Lalomanu Beach or Namua Island.
Lalomanu Beach is one of the most photographed and best beaches in Samoa. You can literally stay on the beach thanks to two excellent beach fale accommodations, the backpacker friendly Taufua Beach Fales and the more upmarket Litia Sini’s Beach Fales. Both are reviewed in detail in this article.
The beach is as pretty as they come and you’ll be spending your days relaxing on the soft sand, dipping in the warm waters and enjoying happy hour cocktails. Nights are spent stargazing and being wowed in a traditional Polynesian dance show put on by local villagers. The show culminates with a spectacular fire dancing that is so close to you that you’ll be feeling the heat from the spinning flames.
Lalomanu’s coastline and reef were badly damaged in the 2009 tsunami. The reef is slowly recovering so the snorkeling is not great at the moment. That said, the beach is close many of the island’s natural highlights which I mentioned in day 2, so you also have the chance to revisit your favorites.
Namua Island on the other hand is really off the beaten track. The island is privately owned by the family that runs Namua Island Beach Fales and they’ll pick you up on their tiny boat from a designated spot. The island can be visited as part of a day trip (T40) but I strongly recommend spending the night in this enchanting island. You might be the only ones staying here and I was even left alone for a few hours as hosts went ashore.
The snorkeling is much better in Namua Island and you can hike to the top of the island for sunrise or even circle the island during low tide. Your beach fale will be right on the beach, with nothing but songbirds and crashing waves to ‘worry your mind’. Here’s what it looks and sounds like from the inside of your beach fale in Namua Island.
Day 5: Savaii South Coast Or Upolu Beaches
For the last three days of your 7 days in Samoa holiday you have a choice: (Option A) explore Savaii Island or (Option B) explore the western side of Upolu’s south coast. Savaii is Samoa’s largest island but home to just a quarter of its population. It is said to be ‘the real Samoa’, where tradition is strong and where nature has been sculpted by centuries of volcanic activity. The western side of Upolu’s south coast on the other hand, is home to more tropical beaches and a whole lot of relaxing.
Option A: Savaii South Coast
Catch the morning ferry from Upolu to Savaii and rent a car for at least the next two days from the Jet Over Hotel in Salelologa (starting at T105 per day). There’s not much happening in the only town in Savaii, but it’s a good opportunity to buy some fruits and vegetables from the local market and grab a few snacks for the road trip.
The first stop will be at Afu Aau Falls (T5 entrance), a dreamy waterfall that can be yours during the week. From there, the south coast road will take you through villages where nothing seems to happen and over basaltic cliffs pounded by the ocean. It’s a scenic stretch of road.
Look for the sign to the Alofaaga Blowholes (T5 entrance) and park the car close to this entertaining natural wonder. The ocean swell smashes into the cliffs, pushing water through underwater lava tubes and up in the air. If that’s not enough for you, a local can show you how coconuts manage to fly in Samoa for an extra T20.
The next stop will be a quick panoramic view at Lovers Leap (T2 entrance). Local legend tells of a mother and her daughter who jumped off the cliff, turning into a shark and a sea turtle upon impact. This might explain why onlookers sometime see this odd couple splashing in the cove below.
The final stop on today’s road trip will be at Cape Mulinuu (T10 entrance). This is the most western point in Samoa, where the spirits of Samoans were believed to be carried to the afterlife in pre Christian times. The cape is as remote as you can get and it feels that way.
Local guides will be happy to take you on a short hike to the nearby Blood Well, Vaatausili Cave and star mound. If you feel like waiting for the sunset and don’t mind driving back in the dark – this place is as good as it gets.
Drive back to Salelologa and check into the Savaiian Hotel for the night. This hotel and others are fully reviewed in this post about recommended accommodations in Savaii.
Option B: Giant Clams Sanctuary & Beach
Make your way to Savaia Village in Lefaga Bay and check into Le Valasi’s Beach Fales. Helen, Taula the Orator and their family will take excellent care of you. If you stay with them on a Sunday, you might even get the real Samoan experience (scroll to the final paragraphs).
Savaia is home to the best sunsets on the island and the Giant Clam Sanctuary (5T entrance), where you can snorkel in the aqua clear waters and marvel at these massive colorful clams.
A short bicycle ride away is the Return To Paradise Resort, the filming location for the hit 1953 movie of the same name. If you’re not staying here as a guest, your T25 day pass is redeemable at the beach bar, so you can not only catch up on some reading, but do so with a cocktail in your hand. The resort is also a great place to grab lunch.